€1.5 million boost for Irish Olympic preparations after hockey success
Sport Ireland is getting an extra €1.5 million (£1.34m) for Olympic preparation after the success of the Irish ladies hockey team at the World Cup.
There were rapturous scenes at Dublin Airport on Monday as Transport, Tourism and Sport minister Shane Ross made the announcement as the team, which won silver at the Hockey World Cup in London, was welcomed home.
Mr Ross hailed the squad, telling them: "You rank as one of the Ireland's sporting achievement of all time. I'll always remember where I was when you won your silver medal yesterday.
"What you have done has inspired us all - an amateur team that took on professionals.
"An all-Ireland team, that's significant for us all.
"The big winners yesterday were you. You guys came from nowhere and came second, and did it with such joy."
When you bring a group of women together who have a common passion, great things can happen. Ireland’s hockey team - no funding - had to “pay their own way” to the Women’s World Cup....and have made it to the final v Spain. Remarkable. Outstanding. pic.twitter.com/AtogKXWy4Q— judy murray (@JudyMurray) August 5, 2018
Player Deirdre Duke said the team are in shock over the announcement.
"I Can't really describe it, I'm so happy to be here and see everyone. The money is incredible, it's going to change the game for us. It'll change everything for us.
"It's a dream come true."
FT: Ireland 0 - 6 Netherlands. Well done to the world number 1’s. We couldn’t be prouder of the #greenarmy, making history and winning a World Cup silver medal!!!! Keep watching folks, we’ve got a medal presentation to attend pic.twitter.com/RyLqbsbbPm— Irish Hockey (@irishhockey) August 5, 2018
The team lost 6-0 in Sunday's final to reigning champions the Netherlands, but have been hailed as an an inspiration to the next generation of players, after Ireland climbed the world ranking in the sport from 16th to 10th.
The team are to travel to a special event on Monday afternoon hosted by Dublin's Lord Mayor Nial Ring and Dublin City Council for the team and supporters on Dame Street.